Four years after a 1-25 season and a 0-16 conference record, BYU has once again earned the title of conference champions.
Steve Cleveland's Cougar team won a share of the Mountain West Conference regular season title Saturday with its 51-50 win over Air Force combined with Wyoming's 106-102 loss at UNLV. With its 10-4 conference record, BYU finished in a three-way tie for first place with Wyoming and Utah. The Cougars last won the conference crown in 1993, when BYU finished 15-1 to win the WAC title.
BYU enters next week's MWC Tournament in Las Vegas as the No. 2 seed, with Utah earning the top seed in the tiebreaker because of two wins over UNLV. Wyoming will be seeded third.
BYU will face Air Force to open the tournament Thursday. Playing back-to-back games, the Cougars and No. 7-seeded Falcons tip in the first game of the men's tournament in a 2:30 p.m. PST (3:30 p.m. MST) contest that will be broadcast by ESPN+Plus on KJZZ-TV in Utah. The winner of the BYU-Air Force game will face the winner of No. 3 Wyoming vs. No. 6 San Diego State Friday at 6 p.m. PST (7 p.m. MST). The Cowboys and Aztecs play Thursday at 6 p.m. in Las Vegas.
Utah receives a bye in the first round before meeting the winner of No. 4 New Mexico vs. No. 5 Colorado State. The Lobos and Rams will play on ESPN Thursday night at 9 p.m. PST (10 p.m. MST). Friday's Utah semifinal game will be carried on ESPN in the late 9 p.m. (10 p.m. MST) timeslot.
Saturday's championship game will be an ESPN game starting at 7 p.m. in Las Vegas (8 p.m. MST). The winner of the conference tournament will receive the MWC's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
MWC Tournament Men's Bracket/Schedule
Thursday, March 8
2:30 p.m. (PST) #2 BYU vs. #7 Air Force (ESPN Regional)
6 p.m. #3 Wyoming vs. #6San Diego State (ESPN Regional)
9 p.m. #4 New Mexico vs. #5 Colorado State (ESPN)
Friday, March 9
6 p.m. 2-7 vs. 3-6 winners (ESPN Regional)
9 p.m. #1 vs. 4-5 winner (ESPN)
Saturday, March 10
7 p.m. Championship Game (ESPN)
Final MWC Standings
Team (Seed) MWC Overall
BYU (2) 10-4 21-8
Wyoming (3) 10-4 19-8
Utah (1) 10-4 19-10
*UNLV 7-7 16-13
New Mexico (4) 6-8 17-11
Colorado State (5) 6-8 15-12
San Diego State (6) 4-10 14-13
Air Force (7) 3-11 8-20
* UNLV is ineligible for postseason play because of NCAA violations